Save the date! The 2018 U.S. celebration of World Vitiligo Day will be held June 22-24 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Here’s what you need to know – and next steps you can take to be a part of this momentous occasion for the vitiligo community.
#1 Registration is available online
Let’s get to the most important detail first: Registration for the 2018 conference is available online and space is limited. A 3-day adult pass is $125 and a 3-day child pass is $65. The registration fee includes access to events and meals throughout the weekend. You can register today on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#2 World Vitiligo Day is officially celebrated on June 25th
Although the conference will be celebrated June 22-24, World Vitiligo Day is officially recognized on June 25th each year. World Vitiligo Day was established by Ogo Maduewesi, founder of VITSAF in Nigeria, and Yan Valle, CEO of the Vitiligo Research Foundation. First celebrated in 2011, the day was created to generate awareness of vitiligo in the general public, to educate health care providers about care and treatment, and to raise funds for research. Since its founding, the day has become a global event, raising awareness and recognition of the bullying, social neglect, psychological trauma, and disability of the tens of millions of people worldwide who suffer from vitiligo.
#3 The 2018 conference is the third U.S. celebration of World Vitiligo Day
Despite World Vitiligo Day being founded in 2011, the United States only recently started holding a national event to mark the occasion. In fact, the 2018 conference will be the third U.S. celebration, with the first two events happening in Washington, D.C. in 2016 and in Detroit, Michigan in 2017.
#4 You’ll be part of a large community of vitiligo patients, supporters and dermatologists
The 2018 celebration is expected to attract hundreds of vitiligo patients, advocates and dermatologists with expertise in vitiligo research and clinic care. This means you’ll have the chance not to not only connect with other patients and hear their stories, but meet leading vitiligo dermatologists and scientists and learn about existing and future treatments.
#5 This year’s event will focus on children, research and the future of vitiligo
Titled “Children, Research, and Hope for the Future,” the 2018 event will feature sessions on children with vitiligo and the latest research being done to improve the lives of patients with vitiligo.
#6 The conference will be hosted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS)
Founded in Worcester in 1962, the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) is the only public health science center in the state, and is the “state’s medical school.” Partnered with UMass Memorial Health Care to provide excellent and affordable medical education and to increase the number of doctors serving in underserved areas of the state, UMMS has been repeatedly recognized nationally as one of the top institutions for training primary care doctors in the United States. The institution is also home to many advancements in medicine and biotechnology such as vitiligo, HIV, diabetes, and infectious diseases. You can find directions and a campus map on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#7 The three-day program is packed with programming and speakers
The three-day event features a welcome reception on Friday, June 22. The conference will begin Saturday, June 23 with a session about children with vitiligo and research updates from experts, followed by the opportunity to socialize, tour the Vitiligo Specialty Clinic at UMMS, or participate in research. The day’s activities will close with a dinner banquet that includes speakers and entertainment. Events will wrap up on Sunday, June 24 with final speakers and an optional tour of Boston. See the full program on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#8 You’ll have the chance to hear from 16 dermatologists and leaders in the vitiligo community
The 2018 conference boasts an impressive list of 16 speakers including dermatologists, scientists, motivational speakers, models, patients, advocates, professors, photographers and support group executives. You can find a full list of the speakers on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#9 You can find lodging with conference group rates at five local hotels
The conference has partnered with five hotels all located within two and a half miles of the venue to provide group rates for attendees. Each hotel’s address, distance from the venue, pricing, accommodation details and the group name to use when booking are available on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#10 You’ll have the option to tour the Vitiligo Specialty Clinic at UMMS
The Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) focuses on the clinical diagnosis and treatment of patients with vitiligo and the study of vitiligo with the goal of developing new treatments. Dr. John Harris, dermatologist and director of the center, sees patients with vitiligo in a weekly specialty clinic and also directs a research laboratory focused on vitiligo.
#11 Sponsors are needed to fund the event and decrease patient costs
Although the conference charges a registration fee to offset event expenses, the cost of travel and lodging can be a barrier to attendance for vitiligo patients. By becoming a World Vitiligo Day sponsor, you or your company can cover the costs of specific weekend events, provide transportation for attendees, or make it possible for patients to attend the conference. Register as a sponsor on the World Vitiligo Day website.
#12 The official event hashtags are #WVD18CONF and #WorldVitiligoDay
The vitiligo community is loud and proud – and we’ll be celebrating online with the officials hashtags: #WVD18CONF and #WorldVitiligoDay. Join the digital conversation by sharing the event and letting your networks know that you will be attending.
#13 The conference isn’t just a celebration – it’s a call to action
World Vitiligo Day is more than a celebration – it’s a call to action. The goal of the event is to raise awareness of the following: 1) Vitiligo is a skin disease worthy of attention. 2) Funding for research into the cause and cure of vitiligo is sorely needed. 3) Adequate coverage of proven vitiligo treatments is patient right. 4) Federal and local support for patient advocacy is needed.
#14 Worcester is a great location to visit, but you’ll have the chance to tour Boston too
Worcester, known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth” due to its location in central Massachusetts, offers visitors historical and recreational experiences that are well worth the visit. Far from a sleepy suburb 40 miles east of Boston, Worcester is the second-largest city in New England and was host to political landmark events such as the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in the state (1776), Shays’ Rebellion (1786-7), and the first women’s rights convention (1850). If you’re interested in seeing the city of Boston, an optional tour is available on Sunday, June 24.
#15 You can sign up for updates on the website
Be the first to know about new information and updates regarding the 2018 World Vitiligo Day conference by signing up to receive updates. The request form to receive updates is available on the World Vitiligo Day website.
For more information, please visit the World Vitiligo Day website at https://www.umassmed.edu/vitiligo/world-vitiligo-day-2018/.
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.
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